My religion teacher gave everyone in the class a small tub of
white clay and instructed us to form something that resembles our
perception of God. Some people made crosses, faces of old
men, perfectly round spheres, or even rainbows.
I shaped my God into a brain. We took turns explaining our
shape to the class. I had to sort of ease the class into liking
my idea without letting them know I was an atheist for fear of
alienation, since I was the only non-christian.
"Oh, God exists alright. In your brain, you see,"
"Ahhh," they nodded, "so it's like God exists in
I didn't get into specifics, but if I would have, I would have
said this: Modern neurological experimentation leads to the
conclusion that spirituality is hardwired into the brain. Of
course, many had already privately concluded
this notion of spirituality as a function of the brain.
The seperate research of Michael Persinger and Vilayanur
Ramachandran puts forth demonstrations of the god spot in
vitro and in vivo, respectively.
Persinger set up shop at Laurentian University in
Sudbury, Canada. He subjected the brains of volunteers to
an electromagnetic pulse gun and documented their reports.
Specifically, he narrowed the pulse in on a little area of the temporal
lobe. Persinger succeeded in illiciting episodes of intense
spiritual feelings and out of body experiences even in patients who defined themselves as not being
spiritual. Many people
assume these sensations, that occur naturally, prove the existence of
the divine or an afterlife.
Now, I know what you are thinking. If God is capable of
communicating through the soul then obviously there needs to be
a mechanism in the brain that can detect this. Quite frankly,
believing in this refute is a fine way to ignore Occam's razor
and continue on massaging your god spot.
Persinger pointed out other ways you can massage your god spot
and bring about spiritual feelings:
Ramachandran took a different approach in studying the god
spot. In his October 1997 publication, "The Neural Basis of
Religious Experience," he organized the spiritual
experiences of subjects prone to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLP).
The resulting sensations mirrored Persinger's artificial
demonstrations of a naturally occuring neurological
Yes, I know the god spot is tough to swallow. Even after years
of thinking about it and writing this, my body is still trying
to explain it to my brain.
But what will always surprise me more (or perhaps not at all)
is that you can read the God e2node and find no instance of the word brain.